Amazing Race: Destination Transformation

I had a blast yesterday sharing all of my passion for room transformations with awesome Georgia Science Teachers! In this post I am posting links to my session notes for you to look at – I will also be adding several blog posts about my room transformations over the next couple of weeks.

 

Amazing Race Transformation Session

Jenga Example

Spoon Directions

Room Transformation Ideas

One of the great things about presenting at GSTA is the opportunity to collaborate and bounce ideas off of fellow educators! The last link in the list contains all the ideas for room transformations generated during my session. If you have more ideas please share in the comments below!

Until next time 🙂

signature

Bonus – Okay so a few weeks ago I actually did the amazing race in my room for geologic timescale. Here is what I purchased for the GSTA transformation AND my classroom transformation!!

NewsELA (not just for ELA)

When I transitioned into the science classroom from ELA several years ago, I was very surprised how many science teachers didn’t know about NewsELA. It was a resource that I used at least weekly with my ELA classes. Naturally that did not change when I became a science teacher. I started pulling articles relevant to our topic of study, and found that students were very engaged with the current-ness of the articles.

How to find articles and What to do with them?

  1. Go to newsela.com
  2. Type in your topic (in my example below I looked for fossils)
  3. Find an article that may work for your group.
  4. Print it with the additional resources OR save the url to share with your students (there is also a pro version where you can create classes and assign articles)

Here is an example of the search and what comes up after you search:

capture3

What I really like about newsELA is the ability to differentiate. You can give the same article but change the reading level. One thing that I do is ask for my students reading level when they take their reading level assessment (STAR or MAP) from my English department. That way I can pinpoint what level students need for their articles.

capture4

Another cool thing is that, if you use BrainPop, NewsELA is now linked to Brain Pop!! Yay! That means it automatically pulls in targeted articles based on the topic of the brain pop.

So, if you have not explored NewsELA I highly recommend that you do so. You can pull in some close reading strategies and really engage students with real-world content! Let me know if you use NewsELA or try it out in the comments below!

signature

Cornell Notes – What they are and how I use them…

As I was searching through new ways to complete notes with my students I stumbled across cornell notes. I had never used them as a student, but they looked pretty interesting. SO, I decided to give them a try and I love them. For topics when I don’t have doodle notes or I just need to change things up – I pull out cornell notes.

What are Cornell Notes?

Basically it is a way to organize notes into one-two pages of condensed information. On one side you put key vocabulary, questions or things you want to pull out from the main ideas. Then, on the second side – you put your main ideas. At the bottom there is a space for a summary – Yay! Great way to get students to reflect on their learning!

An Example of My Cornell Notes:wp-15420354605574771571906824360260

These are notes that I made to go along with our textbook. We have super old textbooks, but they still have some good information and diagrams. I liked these because I added space for students to draw their own diagrams.

How do I make my Cornell Notes?

I use an awesome template that I found for FREE on TpT. I am adding a photo-link below. It is super easy to use and input your own information! original-2937656-1

I hope you found this helpful! What type of note-taking strategies do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Top 3 Ways I Use Doodle Notes

Doodle notes are a staple in my classroom. I use them for ALMOST every topic that we cover. They give students access to information in a fun and exciting way (not to mention the retention). In my day to day classroom practice I find myself presenting them to students in three different ways.

1

PowerPoint – This is probably the easiest way to incorporate doodle notes, especially if you are just starting out. You can present the information that needs to be filled in on a ppt slide and use it in the same way that you would traditional notes.

I do this quite frequently especially if I have more information other than what is covered on the doodle notes to present. If you want to go the extra mile you can scan in your doodle notes and cover up the information with white text boxes.

Some doodle notes products on TpT also have PowerPoints to accompany the doodle notes, which is super helpful and something to look for when purchasing.

2 Document Camera – One of the ways that I mostly present my doodle notes is by using my document camera. During my first block I will put a blank set of notes under the document camera and fill it/color code them with my students. I teach 6 classes, so for the subsequent classes I add sticky notes over the information and present them a la Vanna White – removing the sticky notes as we discuss each item.

3Written Set of Directions –If students need some independent work to work on or maybe you have presented the information in a different set of notes or even if you have a textbook that might have the information that they need, then you could provide a written set of directions. Let’s face it, there is always that one day when you need something for students to be able to work on by themselves. I have done this when I had an emergency and had to leave some work for a substitute. To write directions I just go through the notes and tell them what to write for each item explicitly or I tell them where they can go to find the information.

I hope that my top three help you think through ways to present doodle notes in your classroom. How do you present your doodle notes? Let me know in the comments below!

I LOVE Doodle Notes!

 

For the past four years I have been using interactive notebooks in my classes. My students glue all of their notes and other classwork type items into their spiral notebook. When I first started I was using tons of foldables and all of those foldables took a TON of time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good foldable, however, now I am more intentional about using them.

Enter the doodle notes. As I  was trying to find a way for my interactive notebooks to not be so time consuming (I wanted time consumed with content and not putting together items), I found doodle notes. Doodle notes are an engaging and visual way to take notes. Sometimes students are asked to draw diagrams with their notes and other times the diagrams are provided for them to color code.

Here is an example of the doodle notes that I used for Eclipses in my classroom. Notice it had fill in the blank portions, but the students also had to add to each diagram about lunar and solar eclipses. If you want to use these in your class – click the image – it is from another TpT author.

20181102_1322197624668598419549646.jpg

I love doodle notes because they really help my students retain the information. They are writing, color-coding and drawing as they learn new content. This has became a way for students to interact with their notes in an intentional way!

DO you use doodle notes in your classroom? Tell me about it in the comments below, and don’t miss my next post about the three ways I use doodle notes!

My Journey Using Classroom Transformations!

In October 2017, I was fortunate to visit the Ron Clark Academy as professional development. This opportunity renewed my passion as an educator. I was reminded why I began this journey, to share my love of learning with students and to make this process fun. I remember as a student impatiently waiting for a teacher to share something spectacular. Sadly that was rare, and not what I want for my students.

At RCA, Kim Bearden spoke about three powerful engagement motivators for students: building relationships, and incorporating music and movement. However, the third method quickly caught my attention- MAGIC! She explained that occasionally she brought magic into her lessons through classroom transformations. A classroom transformation is a classroom that is physically changed into a completely different place. At first, I was skeptical. I had seen transformations on YouTube and in teacher blogs, however, I never thought I would buy into this “madness.”

1Two weeks later, I decided to take a risk and create my first classroom transformation. It was very simple. I turned my room into a beach. I dug out my beach umbrella, boogie boards, buckets, and brought them to my classroom. Those items, coupled with a few tablecloths, suddenly transformed my room. The day before the transformation, I told them to bring a towel. I did not tell them why. This piqued their curiosity and built up to the moment when the room was revealed. On the day of the transformation, I played a video of a beach with ocean waves and steel drum music in the background. Students entered the land of “Isle de OCMS.” They spread out their beach towels, sat down, and waited for instructions. Several learning stations were set up around the room, combining what we had been learning about the ocean floor with a beach theme. The quality of student work I received from the students that day was above and beyond what I normally receive, and even my most lackadaisical students were engaged. I was inspired because they were completing rigorous activities and were fully engaged in the lesson.3

After my first classroom transformation, I could not wait to do more. My goal was to create a classroom transformation for each unit. Before the end of the school year, my students had reviewed geology in the Glow Games, studied weather patterns as meteorologists using a green screen and dug up fossils at Jurassic Park. Each magical transformation motivated the students to extend their learning beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom lesson.

After I shared my transformations with others in my school and district, several teachers in my school had similar results with their own room transformations. I loved sharing my success with them and hearing about their successes.

2I am continuing to create transformations this year. So far my students have become CSI agents to tackle the mystery of the scientific method and next they will become space explorers on the Starship Enterprise. My hope is that others will be inspired to add some magic into their classroom and truly see their students come alive.